Saturday, June 11, 2005

An observant Muslim scholar

Muslims upset by the terrorists' deliberately killing peaceful, civilian Iraqi Muslims have been asking if the killings can be justified under Muslim religious teaching.

A number of Muslim religion scholars, called ulema, have studied the question. They've concluded Muslim teaching does indeed justify such killings. They've provided examples of circumstances in which Muslim's may deliberately kill, say, a mother and child.

But other ulema disagree. In a NY Post column, Amir Teheri writes about one of them as well as about those telling Muslims the killings are justified.

Jassim al-Shamri, a Saudi theologian, rejects the authority of the "self-styled ulema" to reinterpret Islamic concepts for political goals.

"These gentlemen sit in air-conditioned rooms and drink iced mango juice and issue fatwas for indiscriminate killing," al-Shamri says. "We never see any of them or their children sent on suicide missions."

I like the observant al-Shamri. May the number of those like him grow.

(Before accessing Taheri's column, you may need to complete a short, free registration at the NY Post site.)

This made me smile

(From time to time I post remarks, incidents, etc., that made me smile.)

A young West Virginian about to enter politics went to Senator Robert Byrd for advice on public speaking.

"Above all else, young man, you must keep your remarks short," Byrd said. "You'll start to lose your audience if you go much past 5 hours."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Questions for the Raleigh N&O editorial writers

An editorial in today's News and Observer, Talk of Healing, concerns public reaction to the despicable cross-burnings in Durham. The N&O says in part:

It's true that many of the vigils have been attended mainly by white people. The N&O's Nikole Hannah-Jones quoted some African-American residents as saying that whites' angst over the cross-burnings ought instead to be expressed at the ongoing, often subtle racism that blacks experience daily. Those residents have a point.

Questions for the N&O editorial writers.

Why no criticism or explanation from you when your editorial cartoon series, Doonesbury, recently put into President Bush's mouth the racist and sexist term, "Brown Sugar," as he was drawn speaking to Secretary of State Rice?

Democrat Senate minority leader Harry Reid recently praised U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as "one smart guy." In the same interview, Reid called Scalia's fellow Justice, Clarence Thomas, "an embarrassment to the Supreme Court." "I think that (Thomas') opinions are poorly written," Reid continued. "I just don't think that he's done a good job as a Supreme Court justice."

Reid subsequently acknowledged he'd never read a court opinion by either the white Scalia or the black Thomas, who have similar judicial philosophies.

Why no N&O editorial criticism of Senator Reed's not subtle racist remarks?


If you believe Santa really does fill all those stockings, maybe you believed what the Boston Globe reported on June 7: "Senator John F. Kerry, ending at least two years of refusal, has waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records." (Bold added)

But the Globe is a "Kerry friendly" paper. So it's no surprise that under questioning by bloggers and a few in MSM, the Globe's report that Kerry authorized "the release of his full military and medical records" is falling apart.

In a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed, Thomas H. Lipscomb, senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, reports Kerry's Senate office wouldn't provide a copy of the form Kerry signed for the Globe nor would Kerry's staff answer questions.

Merely signing a record release form, known in the military as SF-180, doesn't mean everything in a veteran's records is released. Kerry and any other veteran can specify what records are to be released.

Lipscomb discussed the matter with an expert.

"There is nothing magic about signing a SF 180," said former Naval Judge Advocate General Mark Sullivan. "It is sort of like your checkbook. You can fill out a check for one dollar or a million. It is the same check form."

"And the Globe story says Kerry sent it to the Navy Personnel Command, which is only a limited storage location. So it is not surprising that the Globe then notes that what they received was largely 'duplication' of records previously released. The Navy Personnel Command primarily stores a subset of service records rather than a person's full military records. There is no doubt there are a lot of after-action records missing from what Kerry has released," said Sullivan.

Did anyone at the Globe or in MSM see the SF-180 Kerry signed?

According to Lipscomb, "no one in the press has yet claimed to have seen a copy of Kerry's SF-180. When asked if she had a copy of Kerry's SF 180, the Globe's Managing Editor Mary Jane Wilkinson said, 'I haven't seen it, and I don't know if anyone here has.'"

Meanwhile, there's something Wilkinson wants us to know: "The Boston Globe is not going to make available the (Kerry records) we have received."

Sad but not surprising.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Should Steven Speilberg point fingers?

On an Australian chat show, ENOUGH ROPE, moviemaker Steven Speilberg said, "I was disappointed that Hollywood didn't do enough for John Kerry's campaign."

Maybe Hollywood didn't do enough for Kerry, but who is Speilberg to point fingers?

When Kerry's campaign floundered, did Speilberg give us "Saving Senator Kerry?"

Raleigh N&O Interviews Sen. Helms.

Today's Raleigh News and Observer contains an article by political reporter, Bob Christensen, concerning his recent interview with former Senator Jesse Helms.

Helm's has written a memoir, "Here's Where I Stand." Random House plans to publish it in September.

Christensen's article is fair and fact-filled. Samples:

Besides writing his memoirs -- with the help of former aides -- Helms, 83, has been regularly going to his Raleigh office to meet with friends or help former constituents, working with the Jesse Helms Center in Union County, and sometimes watching Senate proceedings on C-SPAN.


(Helms) heaps praise on Ronald Reagan, calling him the greatest president of the 20th century, and reserves his most withering scorn for the news media.

Helms is unapologetic as he writes about his major battles and his efforts to derail "the freight train of liberalism." But he admits to being wrong about the AIDS epidemic. Helms was the subject of strong criticism from the gay community because of his outspoken opposition to laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination, to funding for AIDS research and to other related issues.

Read the whole thing.

Globe columnist defends Dean; blames Dems

According to Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi, Chairman Dean isn't the problem.

If Democrats in Congress did their job, Dean would be the chorus. Now he's the whole act. Dean's fellow Democrats would rather boo him than themselves.

Vennochi provides examples of what she means. Here's one:

General Motors announces it will eliminate 25,000 jobs, and its CEO complains that health benefits reduce profits. Where are the Democrats brave enough to say the burden falls on GM to design fuel-efficient cars people want to buy rather than on workers who produce those cars?

Vennochi ignores the fact that auto unions have strongly resisted legislation that would encourage production of fuel-efficient cars. More fuel-efficient cars will be produced on more technology advanced production lines that will require fewer workers to produce the same number of cars as now. Union workers will lose jobs

The Dems might be willing to go after GM but they're not going to fight the unions.
Michigan's Democrat Senators Carl Levin and Deborah Stabenow could have told Vennochi that.

Vennochi ignores the real problem Dean has created for the Democrats: more and more people are realizing Dean does represent the party.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

If today's MSM had covered World War II

The D-Day anniversary reminded us of what we owe the extraordinary men and women who made our success possible.

It also led me to wonder how today's media would have covered the invasion and other events.

Below is how I ithink ABC Evening News would have done it

References to the pre-invasion disagreement between General Eisenhower and Air Marshall Leigh-Mallory concerning the American paratroop drop are historically accurate as is the information concerning the Enigma project, one of the war's most important secrets.

The peace activist who wants the kids to learn to goose step is, of course, fictional.

Now here’s ABC's Evening News – June 8, 1944

Charles Gibson: “Good evening. We begin tonight with the war news. And there’s plenty of that, including reports of a serious split in the ranks of Allied military leaders.

When we reported the D-Day invasion, we believed Americans and British military leaders had agreed on the invasion plan. Now we learn that was not the case.

We go first to Linda Douglas at the War Department. Linda, we’re hearing rumors of deep splits among Allied military leaders? Is there any truth to them?”

Douglas: “There certainly is, Charles. A source, who must remain anonymous, told me Eisenhower’s air chief, Leigh-Mallory, strongly opposed the plan to drop paratroops into Normandy during the early hours of D-Day. He feared they couldn’t achieve their objectives and would suffer massive casualties.

Eisenhower, not an airman and with no experience commanding paratroops, went against Leigh-Mallory’s advice and ordered the drop anyway.

Now, although the paratroopers achieved their main objectives, even Ike’s headquarters is admitting many lives were lost.

Gibson: “Well then, Linda, do we know yet on who might replace Eisenhower?”

Douglas: “No.”

Gibson “Well, do we at least know when Eisenhower will be replaced?”

Douglas: “I’m afraid it might not be soon, Charles. Ike’s boss, General Marshall, is solidly behind him.”

Gibson: “That’s really not too surprising since Eisenhower is a Marshall protégé. Well, thank you, Linda.

Now we go to Terry Moran at the White House. Terry, do we know why President Roosevelt has failed to tell the American people anything about this major split in the Allied leadership? He spoke to the nation on D-Day and, as I recall, said nothing about it”

Moran: “That’s right, Charles. And he’s still said nothing. And I’ve got to tell you that just from where I’m standing that looks like a really huge blunder.”

Gibson: “And why is that, Terry?”

Moran: “Because it makes you wonder if Roosevelt really knows what’s going on in Normandy.”

Gibson: “Indeed, Terry. ABC News will continue to follow this story.

Now we bring you another report in our series, Your Right to Know. This one concerns a top secret effort to decode German military and diplomatic communications. It’s called the Enigma project.

. George Stephanopoulos is here to explain it to us.

George, can you tell us first whether this Enigma matter is really as important as it seems, or are the Allies exaggerating its importance in order to draw attention away from the quagmire that’s developed in Normanday? It’s almost 48 hours since the invasion began and they're still not in Germany.”

Stephanopoulos: “Charles, it’s really big news. The allies are intercepting and reading communications the Germans thought were secure. They’re doing it in almost real-time”

Gibson: “Thank you, George. Now we go to Berlin where Admiral Karl Donnitz, in charge of German submarine warfare, is standing by.

First, Admiral, thank you for taking time to be with us.

Donnitz: “A pleasure, Mr. Gibson.”

Gibson: “Admiral, I don’t know whether you’ve heard yet, but ABC has just reported the Allies have for some time been intercepting and reading German communications, including those of your submarine fleet.

So if I may, Admiral, I’d like to begin by asking if you would be good enough to give us your reaction to the news. …..Admiral?….We seem to have lost our contact with Berlin.

Well, we’re almost out of time.

Tomorrow night we’ll bring you our Person of the Week. She’s a peace activist who wants the schools in her town to let children wear swastika armbands and learn to goose step so they can better understand children in Germany. But some angry parents and a hostile school board don’t seem to want her to succeed.”

Kerry puts you to sleep? Try Ann Althouse.

Meet Ann Althouse - thoughtful critic, political jockey, blogger and University of Wisconsin Law School Prof. She's got lots to say about Sen. John Kerry.

Remember Kerry? Tall, coifed, Vietnam, two wealthy wives (successive, of course), MSM presidential candidate, goes on and on.

You're right. He's the guy who got you thinking, "Hey, I don't need Sominex."

Althouse makes reading about him interesting.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

This should scare us all

Dan Rather keynoted the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) recent national conference. He received frequent applause, including two standing ovations. Accounts are here and here.

The IRE audience knew their fellow investigative reporter and editor used fake documents to attack the President's National Guard service.

It knew that Rather and the CBS network had assured the public that the then still anonymous source of the fake documents, Bill Burkett, was "an unimpeachable source" even though Rather and CBS knew Burkett was a Bush-hater who was actively campaigning against the President.

Rather and CBS did many other things to prop up an obviously false story. The IRE audience knew that, too.

Still they applauded. Not polite applause. Standing ovations.

For the IRE to enthusiastically applaud Rather is far worse than, say, an American College of Surgeons convention audience enthusiastically applauding a surgeon it knew repeatedly operated while drunk.

A drunken surgeon does a terrible wrong; so do surgeons who applaud such a colleague. But nothing like that has ever happened at an American College of Surgeons conference. If it did, it would be headlines and a national scandal. And rightly so.

But what Rather and CBS did and the IRE's applause is far worse than a surgeon operating drunk and fellow surgeons applauding him.

You can't have democracy unless citizens are given the truth. Rather and CBS didn't do that. First, they misled us. Then they lied to us. Yet the Investigative Reporters and Editors convention audience applauded.

That should scare us all.

The soft bigotry of low expectations

Over at Betsy's Page, she posts concerning the University of Oregon's plan to, as its president said, "reach all of the students who have demonstrated their competence to be in the university but for whom, because of cultural background, traditional techniques of teaching may not be as effective as others."

If any Oregon faculty are not sure how they can "reach all of the students, etc., " I suggest using either Plan "A" or Plan "B," and in rare instances, Plan "C+."

Meanwhile, remember President Bush's remark about "the soft bigotry of low expectations?"

Senator Clinton's sleep problems

Reuters reports Senator Hillary Clinton said the following:

"I stay awake at night thinking about all the mistakes and the wrong direction and all the bad decisions being made in Washington," Clinton said at the fund-raiser. "It's very hard to stop people who have no shame about what they're doing. It's very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth."

Clinton never spoke of sleep problems after Travelgate, or while Vince Forster's briefcase sat in a closet beside her bedroom, or while she waited with her husband for results of DNA analysis of Monica's dress stain. But she has trouble sleeping now.

Clinton sounds like someone who slept through London's Blitz and later complained Big Ben's tolling kept her up at night.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Will the professor be punished?

In yesterday's Washington Post Book World section, Ken Pollack reviewed a group of World War II books. Here's part of what he said about one of them:

The great surprise of the season in World War II books is Deborah Dash Moore's wonderful GI Jews: How World War II Changed a Generation (Belknap/Harvard, $25.95). Moore is a professor, the book is an academic study of how one small segment of the American population dealt with the war, it was published by an academic press and the endnotes are nearly a fifth as long as the story itself -- none of which promises an enjoyable read. But it is an enjoyable read. Moore, a Vassar professor, writes well and knows how to tell a story -- sins that some faculty committee will no doubt punish her for someday.

Yes, and it isn't only fine writing and storytelling that can upset many academics. Just ask Harvard's President, Lawrence Summers.

Amnesty Should Be Asked A Question.

Today's Washington Times carries a story about Amnesty International's charge that the U.S. runs a gulag. Here's part of it:

"I don't believe [the charges] are irresponsible," said Mr. Schulz, the executive director of Amnesty International U.S.A. "I've told you the ways in which I think that [there are] analogies between the Soviet prison system and the United States."

Pressed to cite concrete evidence that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales are the "architects" of "systematic torture" at the prison, Mr. Schulz could produce none.

I wish a TV interviewer would, in a quiet and matter-of-fact way, ask Mr. Schulz: "Sir, if the U.S. was actually running anything like a gulag system, wouldn't you and the rest of Amnesty's leadership right now be either slave-laboring or decomposing inside it?"

D-Day Tribute

June 6, 1944: It's an oft told tale. Yet more than 60 years on, D-Day still interests, awes and inspires.

We hear the date and can immediately say, "Sure, Normandy, and they touched down around 6 or 7 AM, didn't they?" We ask each other how they did what they did. And following Shakespeare, about that day the good parent teaches the child.

So I've listed no chronologies, books or sites; they're easily located.

This tribute is in impressionist form: Three "brush strokes" are meant to suggest the whole. The Supreme Commander provides the first ; a correspondent who sailed to Normandy not with troops, but with doctors, nurses and corpsmen, the second; and a correspondent who walked Omaha Beach on June 7, the third.

We begin on June 5 when General Eisenhower knew the invasion could fail. He prepared a message to be released in the event he had to order a withdrawal.

Eisenhower's penciled message on plain paper contains errors, including a dating of "July 5." Historians agree the errors suggest fatigue. In the months before D-Day, Eisenhower slept only 3 or 4 hours a night. But the quality of the man shines in his message.

Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone. July 5.

The man and women of D-Day had a commander they deserved.

With night falling along the English coast and June 5 giving way to June 6, correspondent Martha Gellhorn prepared to sail for France on a hospital ship. She described for readers what she saw. Here's some of what she wrote:

There was nothing to do now but wait. The big ship felt empty and strange. There were 422 beds covered with new blankets; and a bright, clean, well-equipped operation room, never before used; great cans marked “Whole Blood” stood on the decks; plasma bottles and supplies of drugs and bales of bandages were stored in handy places. Everything was ready, and any moment we would be leaving for France.

Our ship was snowy white with a green line running along the sides below the deck rail, and with many bright new red crosses painted on the hull and painted flat on the boat deck.

Pulling out of the harbor that night we passed a Liberty ship, going the same way. The ship was gray against the gray water and the gray sky, and standing on her decks, packed solidly together, khaki, silent and unmoving, were American troops. No one waved and no one called. The crowded gray ship and the empty white ship sailed slowly out of the harbor toward France.

It's June 7 now. Correspondent Ernie Pyle walks along Omaha Beach. Here's part of what he said:

You can still see the foxholes they dug at the very edge of the water, in the sand and the small, jumbled rocks that form part of the beach.

Medical corpsmen attended the wounded as best they could. Men were killed as they stepped out of landing craft. An officer whom I knew got a bullet through the head just as the door of his landing craft was let down. Some men were drowned.

Our men were pinned down for a while, but finally they stood up and want through, and so we took that beach and accomplished our landing. We did it with every advantage on the enemy's side and every disadvantage on ours.

Pyle titled his account, "And Yet We Got On." He began by telling his readers why he was at Omaha and talking to them:

In this column I want to tell you what the opening of the second front in this one sector entailed, so that you can know and appreciate and forever be humbly grateful to those both dead and alive who did it for you.

Know, appreciate, and forever be humbly grateful.

(Citations and links will be provided tomorrow)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Senator Harkin as Chairman Dean understudy?

Over at the always interesting Captainsquarters blog, Captain Ed has some Sen. Tom Harkin quotes you won't believe.

Harkin must be hoping to get the Chairman Dean understudy role.

"Old Europe": Rumsfeld deserves an apology

During the lead up to the Iraq war, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld used the term "Old Europe." Politicians and MSM media on both sides of the Atlantic expressed horror. How could he?

Of course, the term "Old Europe" has been used for decades by those same people and others. How many times did we read that the EU would replace "Old Europe" with "New Europe?"

But those who act on the "Anything to hurt America" principle seized on Rumsfeld's use of a term they themselves had used to pound him and America.

With that in mind, take a look at this paragraph from a June 2 New York Times article about the French and Dutch EU rejection votes:

"Old Europe lacks confidence and is therefore defensive, trying to freeze things rather than look forward, feeling that any change is bad," Mark Leonard, a specialist on European Union affairs at the Center for European Reform, said in a telephone interview. "It's a toxic brew of failure to build support for reform, terrible economic circumstances and elites that are tarnished and shop-soiled."

You can read the entire article here.

Please e-mail if you find anyone who beat on Rumsfeld saying, "Sorry, Mr. Secretary, I shouldn't have beat on you for using a phrase that was in common usage then and now."

I'll post it.